Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This victory for mental health DELIGHTS ME!

It's not a total victory, but it IS satisfying and will hopefully lead to good things.

I live in NH, a state in which funding for community mental health support is scarce and only getting scarcer thanks to the proposed budget from our currently "insane" State Legislature. Because of the paucity of outpatient mental health resources in our communities, it is not uncommon for people who don't need to be institutionalized, to be institutionalized. This is not the 1850's. This is the State of New Hampshire, in 2011.

Many people are unhappy with the current proposed budget from the State Legislature. The reasons are many, but it is fairly clear that the budget was crafted 50/50 from concerns about the budget...and partisan, ideological shenanigans. You have to remember that NH is a state ripe with Free-Staters and other assorted stripes of Libertarian. And while I, personally, actually agree with many of their ideals, I am a practical person who is willing to bow to certain realities. Institutionalizing people who don't need to be there is beyond wrong. "Families" and "churches" aren't going to make people sane again. (I should add that there's a weird neo-con element at play here that has gotten all mixed up in the Libertarian ideals...it makes no sense but hey, maybe I just don't get it because I'm a "liberal". Hmm. Wait, nope, it actually doesn't make any sense, lol.).

If the NH Legislature has its way, we will lose funding for all kinds of things that make many people's lives worth living, including significant funding for community mental health support-- support which was already lacking.

I'm delighted this morning to read that the Federal government agrees! I'm not given to delight over Federal government intervention, but in this instance I am--why do we even have government if not to protect the weakest among us. We are all only as strong as our weakest citizen.

Per the Concord Monitor, The AG's office has gone so far as to state that they will be compelled to sue the State of NH if the lack of community mental health resources in our state continues to be a problem.

As someone who currently utilizes these services (because I have only intermittently had insurance in the past several years) and who has seen friends suffer needlessly because they cannot get access to either the money, the insurance, or the availability of these services, I have never been more in love with Federal government than I am right now.

Hyperbole? I have ADHD, I do everything emphatically.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's talk about what "as is" means...

Someone left a comment about just being myself "as is", and that's really an important concept to grasp. It's a comment with sincerity, simplicity and value, and when I am able to do so, this is what I really strive for.

It gets tricky though on the days where, for whatever reason, me in my natural state is in inherent conflict with everything else in my life. And I am not a person that seeks conflict.

This is where "being yourself" starts edging you into the territory where conflict with one's surroundings can be defined as a disorder.

There are mornings where I am truly too depressed to get up and I do anyway. There are mornings where I am so anxious that I feel like my innards might explode but I still have to go to work or wherever else I need to be that day. There are days where, for whatever reason, everything makes me want to cry, but I still need to do some laundry and help my husband with the kids. There are days when I am exuberant and unable to sit still but I still have to get the boring stuff taken care of. There are days where I feel simply at peace. Every day, at some point, inability to "focus" becomes an issue. And I have had to learn to temper various types of reactivity. At least one to two of these issues is at play every single day and it's not something I can choose.

I am the first to say that there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these states of being. But no matter what I think of them, I have to think about how my behavior will help me to mesh or not mesh with whatever it is that I need to do that day. I cannot choose what my body chemistry is doing. I cannot choose how I "feel". But I CAN choose what I will do and say as I move through the day.

My dog doesn't think about what and who he is like I do and there's charm to that. But frankly, it's gotten him into big trouble on occasion. You can't just bite people when you're feeling insecure and expect no consequences. You can't just pee on the rug every time you feel like it, because you don't feel like going outside.

Happily, my dog now sees the superiority of peeing outdoors (he gets a lot more freedom now that he does). My natural, unaltered state with no behavioral intervention involves a lot of behaviors and vocalizations that are simply not appropriate in settings where functional adult humans exist in their daily out-of-the-home-routines. Many of them would not be appropriate in my home either, really.

We with ADHD (or any other "disorder" that takes us out of the normal acceptable range of behavior) need to take responsibility for ourselves. So yes...we DO need to accept ourselves. But we also owe it to ourselves and every other creature we share space with during the day, to find that line between "us being us" and "us being assholes". This is not neurosis...this is necessity.

How many depressed people does it take to change a lightbulb?

Are you kidding me, there's no punchline, that's just not funny! What can you really say to that "none, because they can't get out of bed to change it" or "you have to care to change it and depressed people don't have the energy to care". Ouch!

I was thinking, on my way to work today, about how there are some REALLY great jokes out there about ADHD. I love ADHD jokes. None of them are mean (that I've heard), they're just hilarious. When ADHD isn't kicking your ass it's absolutely stand-up comedy worthy.

There's a lot of jokes out there about a lot of mental health issues...some of them ARE mean, but really, come on, some of them are hysterical and some aspects of many mental health disorders are fairly humorous in a dark comedy kind of way. In thinking about this though, I was trying to think of some funny ones about depression.

But depression just isn't funny. I was thinking that the next time I'm feeling horrible I would whip out some "here's why depression IS hilarious" jokes to cheer myself up but I couldn't even think of any. If you know any, please post them. Don't worry, you won't offend me, it's nearly impossible, lol.

In the meantime I'm feeling so much better. Maybe the changing season is getting me back on track? I don't know what it is but I am grateful. I have known many whose battles with depression feature prominently in their lives and though I had some rounds with it when I was young (9-14) I haven't had it stick around long enough in my adult life to really disable me. I have been disabled by it this winter, and it has affected every aspect of my life. And when I'm not firing on all cylinders, it begins to affect my husband's ability to keep up with life too.

Or maybe it's more like this...

...maybe I could be doing any old job, but I need to remember to take breaks that involve physical activity.

HUH. There's a thought.

This morning, because I was actually able to sleep last night, I was able to get up early enough to go for a walk with the dog, do a little bellydancing, and then ride my bike to work. And I feel pretty darn good.